OPINION: Where is the female cry for Hamas’s sexually abused?

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OPINION: Where is the female cry for Hamas’s sexually abused?

The UN, feminist groups and academics speak up for women everywhere, but not women in Israel

Brigit Grant is the Jewish News Supplements Editor

I’m screaming, but no one can hear me. That’s because the scream is inside my head. And it gets louder with every denial, libel and slur. Of Israel. No other country has been put under the same microscopic scrutiny. No other country has been hounded and besmirched for not toeing the line while defending its own people.

Those who try to defend Israel on TV and radio know deep down that facts are just white noise for the detractors as their minds aren’t big enough to change. But it’s the smart and silent who truly offend, because they stand up for everyone else, but can’t find the words to speak up for Israel.

I’m talking about women and feminists in particular. Those strident females who have fought tooth and talon for Afghan, Saudi, Iranian, Pakistani, Yazidi and Ukrainian women, but can’t express any compassion for the women who were sadistically tortured, mutilated, raped and burned in Israel. The #MeToo lobby plead for their own survivors of abuse, yet they can’t get it together to plead for the women who were abused on October 7 and did not survive.

Doesn’t that make you want to scream like a girl for those girls?

This week I was told about a 14-year-old Israeli girl who was raped and then shot in the head. I heard this hideous fact while attending the Jerusalem Press Club conference on the topic of sexual abuse perpetrated by Hamas. I didn’t want to attend. No one with any perceptivity would, but it was necessary. I just wish I could have taken the entire world with me. Then everyone would have heard the testimony of Sheri, an IDF reservist who dealt with the identification and burial of the murdered female soldiers and festival goers.

It’s the smart and silent who truly offend, because they stand up for everyone else, but can’t find the words to speak up for Israel.

An architect by profession, Sheri (her full name cannot be shared under military guidelines) whispered an apology before relating what she and three others – a forensic doctor, dentist and army photographer – had witnessed at the mortuary as part of the IDF Rabbinate’s reserve unit.

Intent on not over-playing or under-playing the scene at the mortuary, Sheri described the bodies piled to the ceiling when she arrived and trucks pulling up with more. She talked about the “painstaking process of identifying fingerprints, dental records and DNA” and added all three were not possible in many cases because of the mutiliation.

The world, specifically the female world, is not there for them. Women’s organisations within the United Nations have not given proper recognition to the massacre and mass rape of these victims.

Admitting that the endless retelling was hard for her. Sheri persevered. Just as she did around the clock from October 8 as the unit tried to identify then prepare the bodies for Jewish burial.

Wrapping mutilated women in white linen was a challenge this daughter of Holocaust survivors never envisaged for herself. But she and the team did what they could, so the mothers of these girls could see their dead daughters. “The body bags were stll dripping with blood for three days,” said Sheri, adding “Forgive me.” She was concerned that this was too much for us to hear. But how can it be? Justice for these victims relies on knowing the truth.

On knowing that hundreds of women who were slain so viciously arrived at the morgue in bloodied underwear, no underwear or in the case of one young woman – with a grenade placed inside her body. That was the moment the unit had to evacuate for their own safety.

Sheri who is part of the IDF Rabbinate Unit who identified the victims

The memory of those victims with eyes open and hands clenched will never leave Sheri, and though there wasn’t time to process the sorrow that now fills her being, she felt very proud of the love her team had for the victims.

She even made mention of the brightly coloured nails of the young women. Manicures that had been done to look beautiful and that they would then go home to show their husbands and boyfriends  A moment of joy that was stolen forever. The observation hit hard. Sheri says that this was when she cried.  “We treated these women with the respect we would give our own daughters,” said Sheri. “We were there with them.”

But the world, and specifically the female world, is not there for them. Women’s organisations within the United Nations have not given proper recognition to the massacre and mass rape of these victims. The U.N.’s Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) has talked about “the gendered dimensions of conflict” without laying out the brutality inflicted on women during the horrific attack in Israel.Yet speaking out in defence of women all over the world is what both groups supposedly excel at.

Brigit Grant

Perhaps the feminists, academics and human-rights-organisations have been too preoccupied with other mass sexual abuse/murder crimes elsewhere to divert their empathy towards Israel. Even revered feminist icon Gloria Steinem has been unable to rouse support and Ms, the magazine she helped to found has failed to file a story.

Ditto on other feminist websites globally and the UK’s New Feminist is more concerned about Shamima Begum being marooned in the ruins of her bad decisions. For bad decisions look again at the UN Women statement that “condemns the attacks on civilians in Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories” without a hint of Hamas, while adding that “Israel’s efforts to have civilians evacuate Gaza so it can root out the terrorists is extremely dangerous.”

Is it a wonder I am screaming when these women are not. When these women are nowhere to be seen on Twitter (now X) where the asinine accusers splurge their lies and lamely target Tracy-Ann Oberman for sharing the bona fide sexual abuse report by JN journalist Jotam Confino.

Elon Musk should seriously consider changing X to Y.

“Show us the evidence” typed the cowardly keyboard warriors who might even believe that rape in a war zone is a crime – except that is when the victims are Jews. Though it was late when I saw that, I replied to many with putdowns which belied what I really wanted to do to them.

As for showing them the evidence, I’d be thrilled if someone would. In the face of so much denial and silence, forcing everyone to watch the horrific acts perpetrated by sub-humans with the blessing of their depraved leaders should be compulsory. Perhaps a few of them might even scream.

Why should it just be me?

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